Oh, what Chipotle has wrought.

While the concept of a mom-and-pop restaurant seems to be teetering on the edge of extinction, the endlessly scaleable, farm-to-table fast-casual concept—featuring wild caught poke, antiobiotic-free chicken sandwiches, and quinoa bowls instead of burgers and fries—is having its day in the sun. And Downtown Brooklyn is perfectly positioned for a healthful franchise invasion, with its ring of secondary schools, concentrated transportation network, and enviable proximity to the courts.

15724738_1260571070653296_4131376558545228892_oCouple that with its density of Perelandra-shopping brownstone dwellers, and it’s the ultimate home for honeygrow: a wholesome, sustainable and locally-minded eatery, with outposts dotting the Northeast. The perfect embodiment of the healthy have it-your-way model, honeygrow offers an array of greenmarket-sourced salads (a la the “Winter Harvest” with sprouts, kale, baby spinach, yams, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and local goat cheese, and the “Make It Grain” with wheat berries, organic arugula, roasted carrots, cashews, red quinoa, feta and grapes), as well as executed-to-order noodle stir-fries featuring Creekstone Farms beef, FreeBird chicken, cage-free eggs, and roasted organic spicy tofu (regional options include Chesapeake Crab and the Philly Roast Pork).

13323616_1080771205299951_4138612337189132152_oThen there’s the namesake honeybar—a truly virtuous take on the omnipresent fro-yo counter—where patrons can construct towers of fresh fruit, coconut shavings and chocolate chips, complemented by local yogurt, granola and honey.

It won’t take the sting from the loss of true mom-and-pop shops, but it sure is a sweet alternative to Chipotle.

194 Joralemon St., (347) 422-0714, Downtown Brooklyn (opens in early April)

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Sarah Zorn is Brooklyn magazine's food editor, and the proud parent of a rescue pup named Rowdy. Who (without any prompting from his culinarily-obsessed mama), regularly deglazes his kibble bowl.


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